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Where do I stand academically? Where and what next? And the madness of being.
Master of Arts in Open and Distance Education (MA ODE) with the Open University, UK (OU)
H800: Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates
H807: Innovations in eLearning – Learning outcomes
H810: Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students
B822: Creativity, Innovation and Change
H808: The e-learning professional
This completes the Masters Degree. I graduate on Saturday 27th April 2013
Currently (March 2013) I am taking H809 as a bridge towards doctoral research or professional consultancy. Complete in June 2013.
H809 Practice-based research in educational technology
I joined the #H817open MOOC for one part of this module. I will register for 2014
H817: Openness and innovation in e-learning.
Teenagers and technology
Fig.1. Letters from Iwa Jima. Clint Eastwood directed Movie.
In one of those bizarre, magic ways the brain works, last nigmt I watched the Clint Eastwood film ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ then stayed up reading in bed (quest for a very specific paper/set of papers on teenagers/young adults, health, presription medication) while waiting for my own teenagers to come in from a concert in Brighton.
Fig.2. Last minute reading for H809 TMA01
I stumbled upon ‘Teenagers and Technology’ by Chris Davies and Rebecca Eynon.
After a chapter of this I did a One Click on Amazon and kept on reading through the next couple of chapters.
I kept reading once they got home.
My mind constructed a dream in which instead of bagging letters home from soldiers, I found myself, Japanese of course, constructing, editing and reassembling some kind of scroll or poster. I could ‘re-enter’ this dream but frankly don’t see the point – it seems self-evident. I’ll be cutting and pasting my final thoughts, possibly literally on a 6ft length of backing wall paper (I like to get away from a keyboard and screen from time to time). Reinforced by a Business School module, B822 Creativity Innovation and Change I found that ‘working with dreams’ and ‘keeping a dream diary’ are some of the tools that can be used.
If I wish to I could re-enter this dream over the next few months as a short cut to my subconscious.
I’m not sure how you’d come up with a Harvard Reference for a dream.
Fig.3. fMRI scan – not mine, though they did me a few years ago
Perhaps in 20 years time when we can where an fMRI scanner like a pair of headphones a set of colourised images of the activity across different parts of the brain could be offered.
Dream on 🙂
Things I wished I’d known when I started the MAODE three years ago (I’ve finished, I’m doing H809 as CPD – already!)
A thorough introduction to the platform and tools as a common 16 hours to all modules.
An afternoon, face-to-face tutorial? Through OU Students regionally if not with your tutor. Perhaps through Alumni support groups in Google Hang outs or some such?
This may sound like anathema to the online, distance learning purists, but I wonder if the OU will have to ‘turn itself inside out’ and have undergrads on campus – not just postgrad doctoral students. As ‘traditional’ universities offer everything the OU and a handful of other distance learning specialists around the world used to have as ‘unique selling points’ they will be able to offer it all: e-learning support for resident students, e-learning for distance learners and blended learning for everyone in between.
Turn the Michael Young building into the OU’s first Hall of residence.
If I go into academia I will want to teach even if my ‘job’ is research. I can think of no better way, intellectually, to master (literally) my art and subject than by supporting others. Knowing some star ‘educators’ in other institutions I wonder if tutors would gain also from greater contact. The weekly tutorial (at a price) is feasible through Google Hangouts.
H809, understandably is a module to take once you have several modules under your belt, however, H809 light, say these first couple of weeks, might be an invaluable, even open and free ‘stand alone’. I would have scrutinised more closely, fewer papers had I known what I know now.
These first few weeks has been applied learning – using the OU Library not simply as an exercise. Invaluable.
(p.s. cats were fighting in the street. I got up to survey the aftermath and couldn’t get back to sleep. Why not catch up on H809 as a few postings from fellow students suggests I am getting a tad behind this week).
Don’t get behind. The ‘tick boxes’ on the VLE ‘ladder’ are a blunt instrument. Every exercise deserves a ‘tick box’ too, though I understand why the OU wouldn’t do this – it starts to smack of primary school. It really is the case (like exercise), that a a couple of hours every day is better than trying to do it all at the weekend, or worse, abandoning it for a week/10 days because catching up is a monster. If this happens seriously think about abandoning that week – keep up with everyone else first as learning with them is better than learning alone.
Isolation is a state of mind, or a behavioral issue. The sooner you learn to tip the contents of your mind out on your lap the better. Learning together is a joy.
Make time to get your head into gear in the first few weeks. If you have to give it more time than the course notes suggest put in the extra hours so that you ‘get it’ otherwise you will struggle all the way through. You can’t do much about is as an EMA approaches if you’re still asking ‘but ?’ about weeks 1-3.
There is no need to print anything off! Get an iPad and a Kindle. Get your digital literacy skills up to speed ASAP.
Write it all down. The default button in this OU Blog is private. Use it as a learning journal, portfolio, digital notebook, aide memoire.
Take the initiative. Meet online in week one. Buddy up, agree a time. Nothing beats meeting your fellow travellers. Google Hangouts work. The nuttiest one I remember was a ‘Pyjamma party’ – all above board and ‘propper’ but given the time differences some were in bed and woke up for it. I guess it requires the ‘hyper gregarious’ character in the group to do this.
Don’t get distracted:
Most don’t blog at all … it should fit in to the regular programme.
Contribute to student forums always, even use RSS feeds but get used to putting the next activity first otherwise you can expend too much of the week’s allocated hours discussing the first couple of activities. Enough is enough. Get the other activities out of the way then come back.
Technique Library ‘Neurlogical Levels’
Five levels of learning in which each level above is progressively more encompassing. Bateson. (No Reference given on the Techniques Library, it’s 1972)
Dilts (1990) took this and distinguished:
- skills and capabilities
- beliefs and values
- identity, mission and purpose
What goes at the top though ?
It helps direct the point of intervention; at what level is your problem?
Are you aligned at all levels?
What’s this about splitting into pairs and having people question each other?
Bateson, G. (1972) Steps to an Ecology of Mind
Dilts, R (1990) Changing Belief Systems with MLP, Cupertinao CA:Meta
Dilts, R. (2003) From Coach to Awakener, Capitola CA: Meta
Curiosity, Forgiveness, Love … everyday attributes of the innovative organisation?
B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts
Especially actions that DISCOURAGE speculation/creativity Henry (2010:93)
|Curiosity||Charles Handy (1991) Creativity in Management, Radio 1, B822|
|Forgiveness||Charles Handy (1991)|
|Love||Charles Handy (1991)|
|A sense of direction||Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner|
Some ‘Set Breakers’ Henry (2010:96)
1. Develop broad background experience and many interests
2. Find and challenge your own blind spots
3. Explore many different perspectives
4. Challenge yourself
5. Develop good browsing facilities
6. Change techniques or different mental modes
7. Seek out people with other points of view
8. In a group
1. Dry Run
2. Quota of alternatives
3. Inverse optional question
4. Checklist of transformations
5. Reverse the problem
6. Boundary relaxation
7. What difference?
8. Get several people to try it
9. Deep questioning
11. Fresh eye
6.4 Value of Play
1. Play is key to learning activity
2. The objects of play are both objective and subjective
3. The ability of play helps create the sense of independence.
4. Play offers a protected area of illusion
5. Plays is a way of managing unfulfilled need.
6. Play can lead to a particular state of mind.
7. Play breaks down outside certain emotional limits.
8. Shared play builds relationships
A. Choice of Setting
B. Choice of team members
C. Climate to aim for
D. Don’t demystify
E. Management of coping mechanisms
F. An aid to team building
· Problem finding (experience)
· Map building
· Janusian Thinking
· Controlling and not controlling
· Using domain and direction
· Planning rather than goal-directed planning
· Humour that oils
· Using ad hoc structures such as task force and project teams
· Using a core group embedded in a network of contracts and information
· ‘Turbulence management’
N.B. Creativity needs space vs. time pressure, interruption
· Create Space
6.8 involve others
The more participants you have, the more ideas you get.
‘Successfully creative people are often deeply committed to a particular domain, that has strong internal significance to them, and they focus very firmly on particular goals’. (e.g. Tessa Ross, Lionel Wigram, William Hague)
‘Passion and persistence can motivate sustained work; attract the loyalty of helpers; create awareness of you and your project in people who have relevant resources; and reassure those who need to take risks on your behalf.’ Henry (2010:114)
- Blind chance
- Wide-ranging exploration
- The prepared mind
- Individualised Action
6.12 Manage the Process Henry (2010:1113)
· Get the parameters right
· Sustain pace and energy
· Develop trust
· Keep the experience positive
· Do – analyse either side and separately
Learn from experience of others
Adams, J.L. (1987) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty; New York; Columbia University Press.
Austin, J.H. (1978) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty: New York: Columbia University Press.
McCaskey, M.B. (1988) ‘The challenge of managing ambiguity’, in Pondy, L.R, Boland, R.J and Thomas, H (eds) Managing Ambiguity and Change, new York, pp 2-11
Schon, A.A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner: How Professionals think in Action, London: Temple Smith
Wetherall, A. and Nunamaker, J (1999) Getting Results from Electronic Meetings
Winnicott, D.W (1972) Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth (1983) Davis, M and Wallbridge, D (1983) Boundary and Space: An Introduction to the Work of D.W. Winnicott. Harmondsorth.
Emotional Intelligence – have you got any?
What’s the point in thinking of myself as a creative ideas person if I am too ‘sensitive’ to handle rejection and too much of an ideas person to get a few ideas finished rather than many ideas begun?
The module Creativity, Innovation and Change’ (B822) is knocking me into shape. It’s a management course. The first block runs questionnaires and inventories on you and where you work to establish where there’s a fit or whether there’s a mismatch. I am also reminded of the many teams I have formed or belonged to that have worked, literally generating ideas for a BT Think tank for example, finding the ‘innovator’ and ‘entrepreneur’ to get behind an idea and raising first £28,000 and then £100,000 for that project. Often the fit looks crude, even cliched, between the ideas person, the innovator sales/prefect director type and the entrepreneur who may hold it all together as a fledgling business.
Who you are in business?
B822 Book 1 Section 5.
The NEO -FFI (Five Factor Inventory) is based on the ‘Big Five’.
Several psychometric publishers have their own versions of the inventory – often with extra scales.
I don’t know the EPIP-NEO but from the above it has 7 rather than 5 scales so has added some of its own – and this may affect its reliability and validity compared with the normal Big Five.
Some core thoughts:
It is OK to be you – the one examination on which you can only gain 100% and are bound to beat everyone else hands down is being you
Whatever that ‘you’ is, and whatever the strengths and weaknesses that are the potential outcomes of any particular dimension of your personalty, it is you that manages being you – and how that you relates to all sorts of other ‘you’s’
So if I were giving advice then I would say something like:
- Learn to value and get the most out of those apects of you that you like most
- Learn to manage and work with or round those aspects of you that you like least.
There is far more to be gained by maximising the value that is you than by attempting to change it into something that is ‘not you’
And if all this feels a bit too challenging, then make sure you have a guide / coach / mentor /friend / loved one who will support you as you work through it.
Lastly – whatever you are like brings value to a team.
The biggest danger is what happens when you work to create a team that is all like you. (And if you want a classic example, think of the difference between the success – in its terms – of the Thatcher Government in its early years, and later on when the wets were removed and they were all ‘people like us’!
Is this the ‘designed’ purpose of the student blog: to reflect on the process.
The differences between the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MA ODE) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) module already strikes me. In the MAODE programme the expectations are that students come from a wide range of backgrounds, interests and positions; this is the case. The MBA however, by its very nature, draws from people in business or organisations who are managing other people. Might I suggest that this is Sandhurst for the officer class, rather than the ‘intellectual mixed bag’ of the MAODE and its cosmopolitan stance.
The MBA is designed to be applied from day one, both from a learning point of view, but also to give immediate value and relevance to the manager and the organisation for whom they work.
Am I being disingenuous to say ‘manager’ before ‘student’?
The MAODE is entirely online; perhaps the Institute of Education Technology (IET) have or had a point to make. They make it well, after 18 months and three modules with a book, CD or face to face tutorial or residential school I feel wholly content with the approach, even some bonding with fellow students with whom I am in touch through social networks (this blog, others, Google+ and Linkedin).
I am preparing for our first tutorial.
I have joined and contributed to a general and a specific forum. I have listened, four times now, to an audio, podcast-like, business ‘radio interview’ on the importance of creativity in the modern, flourishing organisations. I have read the first two chapters of Block 1 (and could well be a few weeks ahead of myself … or not). I have also read three out of the four books offered as additional reading. I have also, finally, stumbled upon the relevance of the Media Book and its background notes to the audio.
I commend the mixed media.
I value the effort required to extract understanding from text, discussions and audio. I have stumbled upon further bits and pieces (largelly because of a desire to see the speakers). I have taken notes almost entirely into iWriter on an iPad and bounced this into this blog where it is titled and tagged and as often as not left thus as I use this platform as a fail-safe e-portfolio.
(the B822 tag aggregates everything from the module, additional tags, such as TMA1B822, for example, will in due course help identify content I wish to pull together for the assignment. I would historically have used relational database software Filemaker Pro to do this. Having it online allows me to pick up on whatever computer/device comes to hand. I am currently at my son’s PC. Yesterday afternoon I was at my wife’s laptop. I often work from the iPad. I may pick up on my own laptop outside office hours evenings when away from home. I could just as well be in the local library).
It strikes me how different my notes and thoughts are regarding the content compared to the notes provided. This has to be because of the value put on the individual’s context. This is informed further because I happen to be on Jury Service. I’m starting to see the books, audio and forum as witnesses. The course chair as the Judge, the barristers as truculent students for or against what they are being told!
Making the case
Whilst a debate, very weakly in my opinion, is sometimes used to winkle out the arguments (academics in all my experience fail totally to stick to their side of the argument, both parties inevitably sitting on the fence) I wonder if a trial as a learning experience (or metaphor) has merit?
As a juror the trial is directed entirely at us.
Though passive in court, there is collaborative learning/sharing in the Jury Room. Is this the unmoderated social learning forum?
Coming from the MAODE my interest is in learning design. Entering the MBA I am stepping back into the shoes of a producer, a role I have played professionally for decades. I reassures me that one commentator, Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter talks of the Hollywood ‘Effect’, the idea of project-based practices in business, that like a movie, are resourced, with a clear outcome, then run by a producer, who has to assemble a team, make the case for funding, the schedule, cost, manage and motivate through to completion. I can relate to this.
The next question has to be, who am I in the production team?
I cannot be the producer, director, writer, technician, runner, executive producer, client yet working in social media the division of roles, even into producer, writer, designer, programmer, PR expert are not always apparent.
Here, the ‘applied learning’ approach could offer immediate suggestions.
Returning to the prospect of a tutorial
We laughed in the MAODE to discover a fellow student or two attending while propped up in bed with a laptop on their knees. Others in from the garden or sipping wine. Certain modes of common courtesy and manners will mean that we are dressed and washed, and at 10.00am drinking nothing stronger than coffee. It is a 90 minute drive. It is unlikely that I will meet these people outside this circle. Are we any more or less likely to meet online as a result?
Whilst each of the MAODE modules begins with an ice-breaker, I presume that his tutorial, or seminar, serves this purpose.
My desire is to learn. And to understand how best to impart knowledge and see it put into practice.
Increasingly I am understanding the role of intrinsic motivation, of guiding, nurturing and supporting others rather than Sergeant-Major like telling people what to do when to do it, or equally, like an intellectual, presuming that my opinion carries more weight than another’s. I am especially interested in the point of view of young people, teens and twenties because of their youth.
All thoughts of Generation X and Digital Natives has been well and truly debunked by academic research
I am not playing to their digital experiences and internet/interactive, rather I am interested in their exuberance, openness, hunger, habit of pulling in ideas and information at the click of their fingers and running with that, points of view that a previous generation may have to wait days to extract physically from a library book or journal.